Grief-stricken dad pens letter to past self after baby son’s devastating death

The pain a parent must feel when losing a child is unimaginable for most.

But one dad has attempted to put that pain into words to encourage other parents to speak out about the difficult subject.

Greg Hughes, better known as Dad Minus One, shared an open letter he wrote to his past self on the topic of learning to live with the loss of a child.

The father-of-three from Perth, Australia lost his son Riley to Whooping Cough in 2015. He was just 32 days old.

In a post on Facebook , Greg shared the letter which was intended for a version of himself from March 18th 2015.

The letter tries to prepare his past self for what’s to come, going into details of his grief and offering advice on how to act.

He starts by saying: "Mate, I’m sorry, I truly am. It’s shallow, hollow, meaningless and empty for me to say this to you right now. I know this because I’m you and you’re a wreck at this very moment.

"Just a week ago you were still you – the old you. The you who was carefree, who saw no danger in the world and who truly lived the perfect and serene life.

"You had it all and you didn’t even realise it.

"How quickly things change."

He goes on to reveal how the old him ‘died’ the day his baby’s heart stopped beating and that he had an enormous uphill battle ahead of him.

And it only gets more heartbreaking.

Greg explains how he was ‘tested’ in ways he could never imagine, having to restrain himself from lashing out at people who tried to empathise with his situation by comparing it to the loss of a beloved pet or telling him ‘you can always have another one’.

He writes: "You wife will feel like a stranger (through no fault of her own), your daughter’s anguish as the crippling reality of life without a sibling hits will utterly crush you and you’ll reach a low point you never imagined possible."

Despite the heart-wrenching words, Greg admits it does get easier.

"I wish I could navigate your journey with the knowledge I have now. I know that I would never hit the absolute rock bottom depths of despair that you have in store," he said.

"For that I’m sorry, it’s not easy to tell people you’re hurting when it’s so ingrained into your psyche to keep your emotions in check."

He continues: "You’re not unique, your pain isn’t isolated and while you wouldn’t know it there are so many others enduring their own personal versions of the heartache you’re suffering.

"Get a counsellor. Go with your wife, she’s done nothing wrong. She’s on the same path with the same destination as you – trouble is that both of you have totally different maps written in languages you don’t understand and you can’t help each other without the assistance of a translator."

His advice for himself is not to give up, but to step up, for his family, for his daughter who needs him – and for the ‘rainbow’ daughter he’s going to have but didn’t know about at the time.

Greg ends the letter with a thought for Riley.

"Lastly, and I know I don’t need to tell you this – but you need to keep going for him.

"Thirty two days. Thirty two f****** days. That’s all he got from this thing we call life and he deserved so much more.

"He was a victim of circumstance of which he had no choosing and you need to fight tooth and nail to honour the sacrifice that beautiful, incredible, perfect little man had to make."

He added: "He is your beacon, your purpose and your motivation."

So far, the beautiful letter has been shared more than 100 times and has prompted many comments from other parents, thanking Greg for sharing his story.

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